Introducing nTop’s new latticing technology
Written by Alkaios Bournias Varotsis | Product Marketing Manager at nTop
Published on June 1, 2022
We are excited to announce the release of nTop's 3rd generation latticing technology, the most advanced lattice generation tool available today!
If you’ve worked in the additive manufacturing space, you’ve probably heard that the lattice generation capabilities of nTop are best-in-class. However, we are constantly striving to set the bar higher.
Our old latticing technology limited our ability to develop new features that empower you to unlock an even broader range of 3D printing applications.
Today, we are releasing our new latticing technology, the most advanced design tools for lattice generation.
The new latticing tools are easy to use, faster than before, and offer greater control over complex lattice structures. They also provide the basic infrastructure for the revolutionary features coming up next.
The new latticing technology release includes 37 blocks that have been in development over the past 22 months. We took the necessary time to perfect their capabilities, implement feedback from the nTop community, and prepare documentation for the transition.
Hundreds of nTop users are already using the new latticing technology. In fact, 45% of users doing latticing work in nTop were already using the new blocks even before their full release.
Easier to learn and use
Our goal was to make it as easy as possible for new nTop users to access the new latticing tools from the moment they start using the software.
For this reason, we separated the lattice generation processes into three fundamental steps: select a unit cell, define the cell map, and control lattice parameters (such as thickness).
Mastering these simple steps makes it faster and more intuitive to learn how to apply advanced latticing and DfAM techniques later.
For existing nTop users, our goal was to make the transition to the new latticing technology a streamlined experience.
In the updated Lattices tab, you will find three new easy-to-use blocks that enable you to quickly replicate the outputs of workflows using the old latticing technology. You can use these blocks to transition your existing workflows to the new latticing technology at your own pace.
Lightning-fast lattice generation
When you transition your workflows to the new latticing technology, you may notice a significant performance increase, especially when working with lattices with a very high beam and unit cell count.
In one benchmark example, a lattice with 50,000+ unit cells used to take 45-60 seconds to generate on a well-equipped laptop. Now, it rebuilds in 1-2 seconds!
In other words, this is a 50x performance increase to the already fastest lattice generation tools.
Greater level of control
For experienced nTop users, the new latticing technology comes equipped with a ton of new capabilities that streamline lattice design and optimization. These new tools enable you to create performance-driven lattice generation processes that have engineering requirements already built into your model. Here are some highlights:
The new warping tools allow you to apply Field-Driven Design techniques to control the lattice cell map the same way you can control its thickness. Combining this feature with real-time visualization enables you to precisely tune those complex shapes. It also gives you a new and powerful way to design conformal lattices.
A pressure map controls the cell size of this cell map. The result is a shoe shole that is stiffer in areas that need more support.
Unified latticing workflow
Lattice generation now follows a unified workflow whether you are working with a graph, TPMS, or custom unit cell. This feature makes it far simpler to rapidly iterate between different lattice types, saving you time. It also makes it easier to set up computational Design of Experiments for optimization.
Filter beam utilities
The new filtering utilities enable you to select lattice beams based on specific criteria like length, angle, connectivity, or thickness. This capability allows you to spatially control certain parameters of your lattice structures and optimize them for manufacturing.
The new latticing technology gives you the ability to create cell maps that conform to the surface of a quad mesh. Surface lattices enable you to design conformal rib grids to increase the stiffness of bodies with even the most complex or organic shapes.
User testimonials and quotes
We asked a few nTop users to comment on the capabilities of the new latticing technology. Here’s what they have to say:
Ross Brown is an Additive Manufacturing Engineer at Marotta Controls and an expert nTop user. His current work focuses on developing high-performance products for marine applications.
Chelsea Cummings is a Digital Applications ADDvisor at Barnes Global Advisors. She works with clients to develop new 3D printed products and train them on the latest technologies.
The new latticing tools we are releasing today introduce some powerful capabilities, but they pale in comparison to what is coming next.
The new latticing technology infrastructure allows us to rapidly build revolutionary new optimization tools that will enable you to unleash future innovations. Here’s a preview of what is coming next:
Field-driven lattice optimization
The new latticing technology has laid the foundation for a novel and powerful field-driven optimization capability. We are currently testing new tools that will enable you to automatically generate lattice structures optimized for your specific engineering requirements, such as targeted stiffness or weight.
Custom graph unit cells
If you want to use a unit cell type that is not already covered by the 30+ built-in unit cells, our R&D team is working on custom graph unit cells. Soon, you will be able to create your custom unit cells and define the associated design parameters, including beam thickness, length, and more.
Conformal lattice structures
Our team is already working on expanding nTop’s conformal lattice generation capabilities to complement the existing conformal latticing tools. You will soon be able to design lattice cell maps that conform to multiple surfaces or organic volumes.
Where can I learn more?
At nTop, we will continue to lead the development of lattice generation and other engineering design software tools for additive manufacturing. Stay tuned for many more exciting software updates in the not-so-distant future!
Alkaios Bournias Varotsis
Product Marketing Manager at nTop
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